The European journey of 2013/2014 Juventus is over. Lima late stunner at Da Luz eliminated Juventus. The performance at Juventus Stadium was right as it should have been: gritty and convinced. Unfortunately, this didn’t translate into a goal. Juventus had some chances, but we didn’t have any clear-cut chance.
Benfica’s defense was spot on, in particular Luisao, who dominated in the box. Juventus tried with what they are accustomed to do: change of side, cuts by wingbacks and midfielders, Llorente’s distribution, Tevez playmaking outside the box, but couldn’t find the right opening.
Benfica went down to ten men and Conte switched to 4-3-3, but Juve didn’t look as dangerous as with 3-5-2, also because they probably run out of gas. Hats off to Benfica, but it is devastating to exit like this, knowing that we would have had the unique opportunity to play the final at home.
Buffon: 6. He didn’t need to do much, he rushed well on Rodrigo.
Caceres: 6.5. He controlled well his area, he had the final chance to score but Oblak denied his header.
Bonucci: 6.5. Good defending, he misplaced less passes than the previous games.
Chiellini: 6.5. Usual Chiello physically dominating performance.
Lichsteiner: 5.5. He run a lot, but that missed control when he was wide open late in the game is costly.
Pogba: 7. Best Pogba in ages, flashy, powerful, maybe he had to shoot more.
Pirlo: 6. He distributed well, but in big games you always expect The Play from players as majestic as he is.
Vidal: 6.5. The first half was very Vidal-esque, many tackles, energetic. He faded as the time passed.
Asamoah: 6. In multiple occasions, he had the chance to cross the perfect ball, but failed.
Tevez: 6.5. Scrappy, pugnacious, he shot a lot and was the last one to give up.
Llorente: 5. Strikers are usually judged by goals, today he never had the chance to bury it.
Giovinco: 5.5. He wandered around the pitch, but didn’t produce much.
Marchisio: 6. He brought some energy and some clever passing.
Osvaldo: 6. He did his job, but Pogba was offside.
Juventus have played a lot worse than this, but they almost always found a way to score. Oblak and Luisao saved Benfica a couple of times, but I think tonight we failed to create super dangerous chances, to put a man one on one with the goalkeeper or free to shoot in the box, even though we went close to a goal. We didn't put up the proverbial siege. Is this season a failure on the European standpoint? I think we learnt a lot in Champions League, like never take any game lightly, and the path in the Europa League was good and we eliminated some opponents with a good pedigree (Trabzonspor, Fiorentina, Olympique Lyonnais). I know we would like to have everything now, but experience matter and this group, and this coach, was only at their second continental campaign.